Comparative Literature | Book Bites: Food and Literature
C200 | 12290 | Prof. Halloran


CMLT-C 200 (12290) Honors Seminar
Book Bites:  Food and Literature
Prof. Halloran       TR 4:00-5:15
Fulfills Intensive Writing and A&H requirement




In this course, we will read examples of influential food writing
from the nineteenth century until today to learn more about how
people use food to express their needs, desires and particular
predilections.  By juxtaposing texts from multiple genres—philosophy,
memoir, novel, food reviews, and journalistic exposé—and from various
countries—France, Scotland, Greece, India, Cuba, Barbados, and the
United States—this course asks you to appreciate the wide impact that
food has on how people see themselves, their relationship to each
other and to their environment.  Our survey begins by looking at the
origins of gastronomy as outlined by Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in
The Physiology of Taste and later put into practice by Alex Kapranos,
the lead singer of the band Franz Ferdinand in Sound Bites.  Next, we
take a historical look at the importance of food safety in American
culture by Anthony Bourdain’s gritty history of Typhoid Mary and how
she spread this disease through her cooking practices, and following
that up with Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation.  As a corrective to
this bleak view of the American diet, we then delve into three
culinary memoirs that thematize how immigration patterns into the
United States refine and enhance the evolving national palate:
Austin Clarke’s Pig Tails ‘n Breadfruit, Viviana Carballo’s Havana
Salsa, and Shoba Narayan’s Monsoon Diary.  Finally, we consider how
agriculture and cooking help people overcome cultural differences in
Anita Desai’s Fasting, Feasting and Ruth Ozeki’s All Over
Creation.    This class carries A&H and Intensive Writing credit.
Assignments will include four short, formal essays and a revision.